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Game Boy
Pocket Studios
GENRE: Action
November 30, 2002

Gauntlet II

Gauntlet: Seven Sorrows

Gauntlet: Seven Sorrows


More in this Series
 Written by Ilan Mejer  on December 18, 2002

Review: Seems they have replaced the uhh.. flaming...guy, with a uhh.. flaming sac know, it's shit, it's all just a bunch of shit.

Welcome to the very definition of how not to make a game. Gauntlet Dark Legacy for the Gameboy Advance manages to destroy everything that ever made Gauntlet even remotely fun. This title is Pocket Studio's attempt to reproduce GDL, Midway's recent and moderately successful adaptation of console remakes of arcade originals on a handheld format. However, whereas games like Spy Hunter managed to find some level of success both as a console title and a handheld cart, Gauntlet Dark Legacy for the GBA fails utterly.

Gauntlet has always been a mindless dungeon crawl. It is an experience that began in the 80s era of arcade gaming, and translated quite nicely as games for systems like the NES, Sega Master System, and even the Genesis. In the mid-90s, Gauntlet saw a long overdue and much welcome revival in the form of the fully 3D (yet utterly old-school) Gauntlet Legends. Gauntlet Dark Legacy is a remake/expansion to Gauntlet Legends, including more than double the realms to travel and characters to play as. All throughout history, Gauntlet has always been all about traveling through various realms and collecting such fantasy staples as special weapons, keys, magic potions, rune stones and other gameplay and story orientated artifacts. GDL for the GBA does not stray too far from this formula, though it does manage to degrade the experience thanks to its terrible pacing and execution, namely in the form of significantly fewer characters, enemies, realms, items, and experiences.

The game's greatest flaw is immediately apparent; GDL thoroughly lacks ambition. Gauntlet Dark Legacy was never exactly an ambitious title, but it was extremely fun in a classic manner. From the onset, Gauntlet Dark Legacy GBA disappoints. The graphics resemble high resolution Gameboy Color technology, the music is insipid and loops endlessly, and the gameplay crawls along at a pace that simply cannot be believed. A stage that would take you two or three minutes to sprint though had it been running at a normal pace instead takes ten or fifteen. Your characters' walking speeds are so criminally slow, that it would single-handedly defeat the entire game, even had there not been other crucial problems with it. The fun of taking your Blue Wizard running through a labyrinth in order to stock up on gold, potions, and perhaps gain a level or two is completely replaced by an experience wrought of frustration and mind-numbing button-mashing.

To add insult to injury, the game lacks support for multi-player questing. One of the greatest draws of the Gauntlet franchise was getting together up to three additional friends and venturing against the hordes jointly. For whatever reason, such a mode was not included in GDL for the GBA, another criminal design decision. Added to the list of butchered content is the inventory system. In GDL for the GameCube, for instance, you could spend your money on equipment and power ups to use throughout your adventures. In GDL for the GBA, gold is simply a way of keeping track of your score. It is a simple point system that fails to take into account your kills. However, you can still keep track of your kills through experience points and the eventual level gains that follow. Unfortunately, this is a poor salve. A salve that fails to redeem the otherwise ridiculously dumbed-down Gauntlet experience.

Bottom Line
Gauntlet Dark Legacy for the Nintendo Game Boy Advance is a game that cannot even compare to the hopelessly outdated original, from a gameplay standpoint. It only succeeds as an exercise in futility, frustration, and self-defeating game design. From one hardcore Gauntlet fan to another, stay away from this ?game.?

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